United Healthcare - Medicare Plan Shopping

UHC needed to replace the plan recommendation engine for their Medicare plan shopping site, and soon. Seeing an opportunity to provide an improved user experience for their Medicare shopping experience while the hood was open, they hired bswing.

In hopes of speeding up the development timeline, the UHC team had purchased an off-the-shelf and semi-customizable “tool” from a vendor. This vendor would act as both the engine for making plan recommendations, and provide the “template” for capturing necessary user preferences for generating plan suggestions.

The task laid out for us was this: to take that off-the-shelf engine and figure out how it A: accomodated UHC’s required plan preference questions, and B: plugged into UHC’s Medicare shopping landscape, all while C: actually converting users to enroll in plans.

In the interest of time, I won’t beat around the bush here: UHC’s Medicare shopping experience is ridiculously convoluted. But in simplified terms, there are basically two halves of it:

1: a number of disconnected pages for displaying all plans they provide and the nitty gritty details for each,

2: an entirely separate set of screens for “guiding” users toward plans that may meet their healthcare needs more appropriately. This was the part we were asked to focus on.

However … Analytics and previous qualitative research provided by the UHC team revealed that users were more confident in their plan decision if they were exposed to the full range of plan options before being “guided” toward a set of suggested plans. And so naturally, it became part of our job to paint the picture of how the two halves of UHC’s Medicare shopping world came together in a seamless way that supported shoppers.

My team led a co-create workshop with the UHC team, the plan engine vendor, and bswing, to meld the various facets of the UHC shopping landscape into a cohesive, and build-able, flow that focused on the user personas (provided by UHC) and scenarios (defined by myself and bswing team). This workshop acted as a key reference point throughout the project when making decisions about functionality and emphasis of elements in design.

A few key, and not so surprising, themes became clear from the concepts generated by teams in the workshop, which I’ll drastically simplify for our purposes here.

Theme 1:

make the experience familiar (like talking to a customer representative - whom shoppers ultimately trust for insight into plan fit), and

Theme 2:

make the experience familiar (like other online shopping experiences).


With those two themes in mind, we established a pattern for capturing basic information upfront, before driving users to the full list of available plans.

For compliance reasons, certain plan types cannot be displayed in the same list together. To help users navigate this, we included qualifying text about what each plan type offers, before encouraging users to provide their own needs and preferences for coverage, which helps us direct them to the most appropriate plans.

Plan List - Prior to Entering Preferences

Plan List - Prior to Entering Preferences

Enter Preferences

Enter Preferences

Plan List - After Entering Preferences

Plan List - After Entering Preferences

Once users arrive back at the list of plans, the descriptions for the recommended plan type is tailored to speak the shopper’s language. That is, describe how each plan matches up to the preferences they’ve expressed to us. The same tailored descriptions are included on each plan, as well as updated drug, doctor, and estimated cost information, based on what we know about the user.

Plan List - Small Screen

Plan List - Small Screen

View a Prototype

My Responsibilities:
Project Leadership
Client Communication
Scenario Definition
Workshop Framing, Participation, Report Out on Themes & Concepts
Conceptual Design & IA
Detailed Functional Design

Additional Team Members:
Eric Freeberg: Design Support
Greg McGee: Client Communication
Jen Alstad: Workshop Facilitation